Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Big Game

Here is a very good commentary that echoes how I feel. And here is another positive one that is rather heartening.

And here is, as much as I hate Nike, another one of their brilliant soccer promos to get you fired up for the game. This one is as ridiculous as it is good, therefore right up my alley. You will, or not, remember this from the run up to the disappointing 2006 World Cup. RIP MC Hawk by the way.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It AIn't No Miracle

USA 2. Spain 0. If that doesn't make you happy in the small storage space behind your heart then you probably haven't been living and dying with the U.S. Men's National team since we felt lucky that Tab Ramos could get citizenship. Once America had the stars line up in their favor against Egypt, I told everyone who would listen that Spain was a team we (and I know how ridiculous it is to say we in sporting contexts) could take. I said it. I said it would happen even though we would be given a silly red card. I didn't say it because I am an oracle. I said it because it is no irony that I just finished re-reading Seabiscuit. I said it because what is great about the U.S. Men's Team is what is great about all American sports stories. Someone was told they couldn't, and they refused to listen. I think living amongst foreigners, all kinds of foreigners, makes this all the bigger. One tires of Europeans vacuous notions of superiority and the Japanese quality of fair weather ignorance. When The Americans are on, they play like Red Pollard, alcoholic and in a leg brace. They play like winning is the only thing between them and the poorhouse. Just watch the Clint Dempsey goal, Clint Dempsey raised in a trailer park where Louisiana meets Texas, watch how you can literally see how he wanted it more. He made the defender look silly in his indifference. Altidore's goal was also a real American soccer goal. Physically dumping the defender and then driving the ball home. A great game by the whole team. If Brazil stays as sloppy as they have been this tournament, we have a chance. We being all of us who love USA soccer.

USA Football

I'm gonna have to sleep through it, but I am calling the game USA-3, Spain-2. Call me crazy. U.S. scores off a controversial penalty and a set piece header. The other goal...oh...let's say....Moe.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Takatsuki Jazz

This is about two months old now but here are my friends Kanji, Sho, Izumi, Nabe and a guy I don't know rocking the jazz fest. Takatsuki Jazz is a great idea. It is a weekend where all the clubs downtown open up for no charge and tons of jazz bands play for free. Sweet.






Undo Kai

Another 運動会 in the books.  Sorry I have no post for the week. I have had no days off and get home, if I am lucky, after dark. This 運動会 was nuts. There was a huge production number about the history of Okinawa featuring kids as airplanes flying around shooting down buildings made of people and throwing kids in the air as fish leaping out of the ocean. Nuts. As crazy as it was it was all very touching and we worked really hard on it. The kids at this school are really honestly sweet.






Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ah, the Eugene Mirman

Just for old time's sake.


I have been thinking about the actual mechanics of songwriting lately. Probably because Rob, who I play in a band with, and I have such different approaches but both write a ton of songs. I know that mine are different but, it is the only way I can write so I have been wondering exactly what makes my songs the way they are. This means that I have been dwelling on song construction to the point that that becomes the entirety of my interest in songs. Witness this Pearl Jam number. I must state that Pearl Jam was a band I was not very into. I saw them live however in 1992 or 93 and they were incredible. I have never bought any of their stuff, but I have come to be comfortable with liking some of their songs. This is the one I have been dwelling on lately. "Hail, Hail." What I have been focusing on with this is the fact that they know they have this bad-ass chord change so they just make it the whole song. They throw on some other stuff to appease the sense of how a song goes, but the meat of the song is that great: D F C# D G A B# A# bit that is almost good enough to be in a Hoover song. Of course, if it had been Hoover they would have told the bridge and verse to fuck off and just rocked that part.

Having this song in my head kept turning the cranks and telling me their is another song, an earlier song which it favors. I could get the chorus in my head. I could hear the bass. But, I just couldn't place it. Then I the gears cranked around and I heard the trumpet and I realized it was Fishbone's "Sunless Saturday." Another solid effort. How many bands use the word "abscond" in a sentence? It's funny how any band now who couldn't cut it in the heavy metal scene and bought a drum machine and Adobe Audition are now a hybrid fusion of rap metal. Look out, Fishbone's sneaking up behind you and they roll with canes and bowlers.

Small House

A lot is being written lately about the small house movement. Or should I say The Small House Movement. I feel that, as a resident of Japan, I have been at the forefront of this movement. Maybe as the son of a boat captain, I have always been out there, riding the bow wave as it were. No that, is pushing the house as boat metaphor too far. In any case, I saw this photo gallery the other day and really liked a lot about it.

ナツキ : このリンクを見て!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I didn't know about this plane crash nonsense until today. his defies everything I tell myself to calm down on planes. Turbulence doesn't cause crashes and whatnot. Terrifying.

New Arudou

Let me say from the start that I support Debito Arudou. Sometimes I feel like he is a blunt instrument, a noisy cavalry charge, but he fights for the side of right with a rare fury. I will continue by saying that complaining is the first step in Democracy. Complaining is valuable. I am not saying that he is in this piece. I am just throwing it out there. I thought that this article was very well stated. I have felt this way about the topic of bullying in Japan. Bullying is now a major issue, so we, as teachers, are not allowed to label anything bullying. Make sense? Most people in Japan will tell you that there is no discrimination in Japan today. There isn't because there are no "colored" restrooms or anything else classified as discrimination. Of course, when I called about a new apartment a few days ago I was asked for my phone number and what country I was from. It would be legal to refuse me of a house over my nationality by the way.

I am glad Arudou points out the bit about being "shy." I really get sick of that garbage. Lots of offensive, unacceptable conduct is written off in Japan as acting "shy" or being "cute." I am over it at this point but I can't coun the amount of times that a kid has yelled "You have blue eyes, I'm scared!" And the adults around giggle at the sweetness. I met Natsuki's grandmother a few months ago and she, being 94, said, "Too bad you guys aren't from the same country." I mentioned it later and was told, "I know, she's so cute." It really doesn't bother me so much, but it some level I feel like it should. It would if my grandmother said it.

Anyway, I am loosing track. Read the article.

Costa Rica

The U.S. plays Costa Rica today in Costa Rica where they (we) never, ever win. I like this article because it has U.S. players saying that Europeans couldn't handle CONCACAF qualifying. I agree. World Cup soccer at noon in Central America on Astro-turf. Sweet.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.